09 December 2007
Subject: Bowl of Chicken-Heart Soup for the Soul

Word up,
I'm cool. You cool? Cool-cool
. Word out,

Wha? You wanted more? Yeah, me too.
I've considered succinct mindful speech and centered silence. But then I was like, who am I kidding? I'm impetuous, needy, approval-seeking, and have delusions of glamourous shininess and a perennial condition of being interesting. And while I'm improving my humanhood, I must still be true to the current nature of my character. The chimera of my reality and my desired state. The Cerberus of who I was, am, and will become. This I painfully detail in these transcriptions of my process of The Becoming. Breathlessly thrust upon you for your audience participation.

I've felt for a while that these letters have been too long and dorky. Egotistical and self-serving-- as they should be. Despite some people's over-zealous pleas for a publisher from some embodiment of an ask-and-receive interactive Great Universal Spirit, I don't actually feel compelled to write for money. I am writing to you, each single one of you directly, and I feel these emails /are/ published in the sending. I've archived them on my website for anyone to read, but their original publishing was in your inbox. I could just give you a link to a web page so that you don't have all these kilobytes nesting with your hatchlings and eating up all your memory allotment like greedy misplaced mockingbirds. But I think the act of reading these words in the homeyness and familiar surroundings of your native email client is an important factor in the tone of their communication. They are raw, personally-geared, informal, lengthy and dorky. The idea of editing in this forum is offensive. I don't spell-check. I want you to know how I misspell things, because I'm your friend and I trust you'll see through the telling details to what is truly what I'm saying. Sometimes I don't even know what it is myself that I'm trying to convey, but I'll read this with you and get a sense of it. The audience of these letters is a "multi-you plus me" sort of "us" that deserves it's own personal pronoun somewhere between the first and second person plural. Some languages come equipped to handle such subtleties of "we" like "me and you and the warriors you came with" or "you and your tribe and the women of the other tribe but not the competing hunters." I'm prone to digression, obsession with the ridiculous, painful wording, and garrulousness. That's alright, I'm your Molly. Also, this is my art project and I can sculpt this digital painting any which way I want to. You don't have to look, but I'm going to hang it here, just in case it pleases you too. And if publishers want to give me money, that's fine as well. But it'll take much refinement and numerous philosophical epiphanies before I'll have the sensitivity and maturity to write for the world.

Well, I'm uncertain about that last part.

I've often made references that I love you. Though it's true, there are 162 different ways I mean that. I love some of you with the bond of family. I love some of you peripherally like neighbors or kind acquaintances I want to know better. Some of you, I want to bear your children and spend the rest of my life invested in the promotion of your brilliance and joy. A couple of you I miss more than I let on and hope that somehow we'll bridge the disconnect. With all of you I want to stay in contact.

Without further much-ado, the actual letter:

There are all sorts of off-shoots of specialized tourism as more of the world gains disposable income, international exposure, and take their manias abroad. You've heard of ecotourism, there is a frighteningly increasing incidence of transplant-tourism, and I sense big things for spa-tourism. Or whatever they're going to call the type of travel where everywhere you show up, you pay people to slather you with mud, stick you with needles, and smack your naked butt with a big flat brush. Oh! That reminds me.

A local Icelandic friend, Runar, was talking about this amazing kitten massage therapy that he'd had somewhere. I perked right up and asked where, having all sorts of interesting images of what kitten massage therapy might be like. Do they rub the kitten's fur against you? Is it emotional massage where you hold the kitten and they mete out your energy blockages? I mean, I had heard of cat scans, but kitten therapy? I asked Runar how exactly the kitten massage therapy proceeded and he said, kitten? No, not kitten, Tibetan. Tibetan massage therapy. The kind where, apparently, a monk sets fire to your torso... still an interesting scenario. After a moment's thought, Runar said that he'd grown up with kitten massage therapy. That he had a cat who, starting as a young kitten and continuing for years, slept at his head and flexed its claws against his scalp all night long, making biscuits. And when he'd wake up in the morning and get ready for school, his long hair would be a tangled mass off at an angle. He reflected that at one point in his youth, about half of his hair started to fall out, and he had big balding patches. An Icelandic chap running around chasing girls, looking quite the awkward sight. In retrospect, now that he thought about it, maybe the kitten massage therapy had something to do with that.

Yes, massage-tourism. Though I was thinking of something more along the lines of fructotourism. I would gladly participate in such an endeavour, gallivanting off through different countries, gorging on their fruits. I imagine I would have similar conversations with rural folk around the globe, many of them transpiring like so: Greetings! Why yes, I would love to sit in your shade and rest a moment. You have a beautiful countryside! Oh, is this your home? What a lovely garden, do you tend this? Ouh, what are these delightful bushes?! Is this edible? May I taste this? Portentious? Deezsh are dehrizshious berrieszh! Nom, nom, num, but are dey shuppozshed to make yer mouzth numb? Portentshush? What? Oh, poisonoush?! Pththack! Apparently I need to learn your fascinating yet ambiguous language. Perhaps stay through a growing season here? Ah, so what's the word for these numbleberries?

I've started seeing them lately, the Pajama Walkers. I had heard about them but never witnessed the phenomenon. People, often with somewhat lost expressions, wander around outside in their matching pajama suits. Now that it's winter, perhaps I notice them because they are a glaring contrast to the jackets and sweaters out in full force. It's a stereotypical norm, the public pajama lounging, that and hanging an absurd number of keys off your belt for a man, and for the women, having something cutesy dangling off your cell phone-- preferably something larger than the size of the actual phone.

The other day in my high school class, I slyly instigated a massage demonstration during one of our topic discussions. The kids were trying things out on each other and showing me some traditional treatments. So I let one girl exchange my blood. Apparently that's a fairly common thing to do, but I think it's a bit disconcerting to watch. She started at my fingertips and squeezed my blood out up to my palms, and continued pushing it up past my wrist. she held it there, cuffing me with practiced pressure as my ghosted hand cried out with sickly pale yellow entreaties for oxidized hemoglobin. She let loose with a drag of her fingernails down my arm to the tips of my fingers and the tingling began. Such frighteningly vibrant rosy tingling!

Every Tuesday morning, I teach a marathon four classes of first graders. Sometimes it's painless, but often I'm grateful for each little interruption that spares me a moment of herding the shriekers into rousing rounds of children's songs or running and shrieking games, or other activities where they basically shriek and wiggle and wobble off their tuffet-like stools. I can count on two of the programmed activities piped in via the intercom system to calm my frenetic matutinals: the eye exercises and the playtime music. Eye exercises are school-wide, and consist of digging your knuckles into the pressure points around your eyes in time to the recorded counting: (yi er san si wo lio chi ba) x32. It's all very structured and has a rinky-dink classical theme song in the background. The second and more calming moment is courtesy of the music piped in during playtime transition. For the last great while, it's been a soothing Christmas carol, "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" which I actually really enjoy. I giggle every time it gets to the line "to save us all from Satan's power when we had gone astray" because context is everything. And I love children, really I do (with avocado), but thirty of them squealing in the same room can be a bit much. Don't get me wrong, I love the giggling. The chortling? Adorable. The snickering and snackering of vorpel-bladed whiny-winded trachea-tube glottal-gadgets is of dubious enjoyability. And the bleating, squawking, and shouting are right out.

There is no diversity of people sizes here. People of poetic proportions. If American bodies are epic poems, sonnets, sestinas, limericks, and free verse, Chinese bodies are haikus. With their short-statured stanzas they are three-line patterns of shoulders-abdomen-legs, sporting the same number of syllables and each somehow referencing the season with their clothing. And they all have the same legs! I noticed this walking to breakfast with Mitch, "The legs are all the same!" "Did you eat acid this morning?" "No, all the legs, they're the same size!" That reminds me of a joke: Q. What's the difference between a Chinese girl and a Chinese girl? A. Their pants are the same size. In other news: I am never going clothes shopping in China.

I am gianormous here. I outweigh most men by five or six stones. Mr. Mao has told me a few times that I would be beautiful if I lost some weight. My first instinct was to tell him that I was already absolutely gorgeous, but then I realized that he was right. So I've joined a race to lose 5 kg while my state-side competitor loses 11 lbs. So far it's neck and neck, but only because we've both suffered a minor setback.

While it was Thanksgiving in the the USA, it was Street Food Appreciation Week in my neck of the woods. Actually, just in my neck. The one going neck and neck. Neck neck neck... you know how words start to look strange after a few goes in a row? Er, right, so I was eating all sorts of stuff on the street. Nothing like going on a diet to start really needing to ravage everything edible you normally just walk by with adamant resistance. To adapt some sage and informed counsel from Marie Antoinette, "What, no bread!? Lemme me eat cake, kakdamit!!" This last weekend I took an extreme departure from my usual regiment of squiddly green things, egg whites, and the inevitable fructose spikes. I tasted pastries from many-times avoided counter displays. "Is that one sweet or spicy?" "Yes" "Great, I'll have one. Ouh! And one of those." I procured warm milk tea with gelatinous bubbles from a neighboring competitor. I had vegetables wrapped in rice dough and a delicious little roll with mushroom and water chestnut parts. I snacked on dried persimmons and what appeared to be some sort of crunchy bean product. I capped everything off with glazed fruit on a stick, tart little hawthorn fruits skewered between walnuts, kiwi, grape, strawberry, and other exotic imports. I felt so majestic, striding down the street clutching my delicious scepter, and nibbling off the edible rice paper it was wrapped in. At least... I think it was edible. Oh well.

My winter weasel has come back in full force from its warm-weather dormancy. It unfurls its whiskered lips and seethes things into my subconscious, making little comments from the peanut gallery. Or the roast chestnut gallery, in this case. "Yesssssssh, yesssh it putsh da calories into its meat sack!" Shuddup! "Shhhhuddup wiff da /caloriesh/ in itsh mouf!" Grah! Okay, maybe just this one ickle delicacy. "Yesh, yessh a feeding, RWAR FEED DA BEAST!" So I am engorged like a tick. Like a bloated tick who overdid it on the milk tea. But nai cha is the deliciousness! "Irregardlessly", I am back in the race. My competitor is going to lose, but I am going to lose to win.

There's a woman on my school bus who, like clockwork, boards, sits down in the seat next to me, and then proceeds to vigourously and loudly rub her hands together. For about seven minutes. I don't know why it irritates me... she's just routinely improving her circulation or warming herself, or compulsively attending to the quality of her epidermis. But one day, she got on, sat down, and was silent. I looked over and saw that she wore fuzzy little fingerless gloves, with all her digits aligned. It was then that I acutely noticed I was stricken with her very same condition: we are dodeca-phalangal! Wait-- toe-check. Okay, yes! Hail Eris! This nonsequitur of little consequence was brought to you by the letter Mu and the mineral Ca.

It's a wonderful feeling to feel like I've convinced someone I speak fluent Chinese by just uttering one perfectly-formed sentence. It's happened a few times now, the most recent being a girl walking home on the XiaDa campus. She was traipsing along late at night wearing big fluffy bunny-eared house shoes and I commented, "Nide shiedzi hen ke'ai!" to which she responded, "Thanks, jibbityjibbityjibbityjibbityjibbityjibbity?" To which I had to concede, "Shenma?" and the conversation reverted to English. But still! I love it when people jibber at me in Chinese, thinking I can understand.

I learned a new word in English: Compersion. It's a wonderful term to describe a feeling opposite to that of jealousy when a lover is enjoying other people. I've needed a word for that for a while. Also, a word contribution from darling Cos: Pre-sequitur it was word of the day on Dec. 6th, hooray!

Did you know that sharks are the only animal to never get sick, not even with cancer? Did you know that excessive trivia causes the promulgation of false information and brain cancer? I absorb trivia to spoil my brain and protect myself from the zombies.

NaLoLeWriMo was a super-successful art project. So many beautiful iterations of scrawled ink spots, each mistresspiece dashed out as fast as I could keep the pen moving. I wrote silly things, wonderful things, and slathered them with heartfelt dorkiness, just so you know I'm still real. (And yes, Cos), I trust that you are perceptive enough to notice their much-mentioned dorkiness, but I had to be sure to let you know that I also noticed. I reread them all and learned a lot. Some of the topics touched upon:

I am your co-witness, I vessel your past self-creations.

Even though there is sadness in the world, us empaths can find happiness for ourselves by furthering happiness in others.

I was disenchanted with myself in high school, but I'm glad to know you through my current persona.

There was never a holiday where I wasn't missing absent family members. But the distance in my family has allowed me emotional security in my travels, knowing that no seperation is too great for our connectivity.

I feel like there has been a sizable energetic investment on your part in my development and unfolding. Thank you always.

Humour is a sacred tool to keep us safe from unsavoury feelings. It is both a defensive strategy to build walls and an offensive weapon to bludgeon down those same walls.

Sorry Harper, I have to repeat it. I really liked the pun about geological and geointuitve eras.

I'm going to take an example from a dear-heart in Boulder and involve myself more in my current community. (To this end, I've started seeing people. Hey, it's an effective way to get to know a place. I am proud to know Addy of profound heart-to-hearts, and Monk of escapades involving dubious floral delinquency.)

More distance inspires more sharing. It must be shared that I am unapologetically doing more nose-following than nose-keeping. I swear by my nose to keep you abreast of the cheeky details.

It's an important question Jan once asked me, "What do you want from me?" Not because we always seek benefit from people, but because in this way we make ourselves aware of all that we appreciate about a person. I want to know you for the pleasure it brings me to observe your miracle of Being.

In my semi-censorshiplessness, I am confident of my self-presentational honesty. It's how I justify feeling good about being so gleefully inane.

I sent them off together, the whole flock of them fluttering furlongs and leagues across oceans of improbability via concentrated professional postal effort. I sent them on an auspicious day, Sunday, 2 December (yes, post office is open on Sunday here). But that will have been my 2 December, so add... no, subtract a day, no wait, add it back. Okay, now add five, multiply by nine, add the digits together and add five again. Now when I call your housing coordinates, wait for the magic number of days and then go stand out by your mailbox!

Lucky Love Letter Lottery Winners:
02139, 358
80218, 1312
80226, 679
80228, 857
80301, 3035
80302, 770
80302, 1703
80303, 1535
80303, 3009
80304, 823.5
80304, 1025
80304, 1925
80304, 2663
80304, 2777
80305, 345
80525, 529
80526, 2701
80540, 1402
85719, 2803
86351, 160
87507, 4128
90068, 2870
92122, 7948
93101, 415
94122, 2141
95126, 212
95460, 864 (x2)
98198, 3015

80305 is the median and 80304 is the mode... I'll just save you a moment in case your brain is numerically compulsive like that. Also, yes there are only 29 listed. 95064, 401: I'm taking a little longer with yours. Because of the delicacy and complexity of our situation? Yes. Our situation is that I am writing it in Chinese. I'm stuck just before the part where I actually begin it because I'm trying to find a name for you. The best I've come up with so far is ??? (House of the Rising Sun) which fits you just about as well as a tube sock fits a lobster. But it's massively superior to a similar phoneme "Scab Vomit Gargle" (just saying). But perhaps you've already given this some thought and can pointedly direct me with some direct pointers? Bleaayarrghggle! Oh, and also I still need to learn Chinese first. Meh, mere details.

If you are sorely wtfsrsly upset about your coordinates not being listed, it's because a) I totally hate you 4evahr, b) you didn't provide me with a meat-space address, or c) I'm holding out for more clamouring! Clamour louder! This time with more emotion!

The rest of you, off! To your insatiable learning curves. I adore you with jealous compersion.
Be well.
...without the hua.

P.S. I would direct you to my website for pictorial additions, but I've squandered my computer time writing you this nambling prattling grandiloquence. But it's valuable volubleness! Still, though, I'll comply with the photo-demands... later.

P.P.S. The title of this missive is what I had for dinner yesterday. I regarded the clear golden broth with focused intention, stirring the goji berries and sweet thin roots around the chicken hearts. And then I ate them one by one, thinking about how I hadn't written this letter yet and why I wasn't going to write any more of them. I cried inexplicably, then, and was fully cognizant of these things: I am not a vegetarian. I cannot maintain silence. I have been forgetting to breathe. I need to meditate or lucid dream more hours each day. The soup was really delicious. I was thankful for the multitude of chickens who have died for me. I was going to write this letter. It's okay to be this unformed. I wouldn't trade any of my necessary imperfections for all the nirvana in the world. My journey is the somewhere along the Right Path, and in spiraling through the woods, I will find myself.